This object is currently on display in room 302 as part of Nature—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial. See our image rights statement.


See more objects with the tag , experimental materials, adaptation, evolution.

Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.


BioMess, 2019

It is dated 2019. Its medium is specimins, hybridoma cells, display cases.

Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr probe the fetishization of technological approaches to life. BioMess is composed of 2 parts, presented in luxury display cases. The first consists of natural history specimens, illustrating adaptations that evolve in response to the environment and demonstrating that life is context dependent. The second presents a semi-living organism, designed by humans and dependent on technology—the bioreactor—for its survival. As humans engineer living systems, life forms are isolated and reduced to their component parts, in essence privileging information over context. As Catts asserts, “it is DNA chauvinism.”

It is credited Courtesy of The Tissue Culture and Art Project.

  • Falcon's Hood, early 17th century
  • label: tooled leather, silk velvet embroidered with metallic yarns and metal....
  • Museum purchase through gift of Elsie De Wolfe.
  • 1950-90-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=BioMess, 2019 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=20 October 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>